AMC SRU™ saves 147,000L of water in 20 days in Chile

AMC SRU™ onsite in Chile

An exploration drilling project, located in a mountainous site east of Taltal, Chile was hindered with limited water supply and high logistical costs. Water had to be carted by trucks 240km to the project site. AMC’s SRU™ was implemented to assist operations and reduce water, mud and cartage costs.

AMC SRU™ achieved:

  • US $36,120* minimum saving (20 day trial period)
  • 60% reduction in water usage (147,500L in 20 days)
  • 65% reduction in cartage costs
  • 70% reduction in mud usage
  • Enhanced operational efficiency and productivity
* Rental is not included as rates may vary depending on the terms of the contract.

Trial Overview

DateDecember 2013
LocationTaltal, Chile
ActivityExploration drilling – two rigs
Drill hole information280m, HQ
Mud informationBefore SRU™: AUS GEL XTRA, AUS DET, CR 650, Super Lube and Magma Fibre Fine.
With SRU™: Soda Ash and CR 650.
WaterCarted by water trucks 240km to site
GeologySedimentary breccia, tuff, sandstones
Access / Drill PadsGood access


AMC’s customer had two exploration drill rigs operating at a project east of Taltal, some 3,900m above sea-level on the western edge of the Domeyko Mountain. Water was scarce and had to be carted by trucks 240km to the project site. Two AMC SRUs were trialled – one operating with each rig.

Water Usage Reduced by 60%

Prior to the SRU™ trial, water was carted 240km via truck to site. Approximately 12,500 litres per day were needed. During the initial twenty days of drilling with the SRU™, water usage reduced by 60% to 5,125 litres per day (102,500 litres versus 250,000 for the length of the trial).

Mud Usage Reduced by 70%

During the trial drilling fluid usage reduced by 70%, demonstrating better performance and efficient use of additives. The average drilling fluid cost per metre reduced from approximately US$5 to US$1.6.

Operational Efficiency (KPI’s) Improved by At Least 10%

The trial demonstrated the SRU™ improved drilling KPIs by at least 10%, with the hole advancing more quickly. During the trial, costs relating to the feed rate; water trucks; fuel; personnel (drivers, mechanics and welders); wear-and-tear to tools; earth moving equipment; and unproductive standby times all reduced.

Safety Benefits

The customer also noted the SRU™ decreased the level of operating labour and therefore the risk of an accident occurring on site.

“It lowers the risk of carrying the cost of drilling delays due to an accident”

Environmental Benefits

The SRU™ significantly reduced water consumption and eliminated the need to dig traditional fluid sumps, which reduced the site footprint and impact on the immediate environment.
“Local communities feel less threatened because a solution has been put in place to protect water resources and there is no harm or contamination”

Project Outcome

Sumpless operations were achieved within fourteen days. The trial also demonstrated a significant reduction in water and mud consumption, together with other operating costs, when utilising the SRUs. The SRU™ addressed the key challenges experienced at this site, where water access was limited and expensive. A minimum saving of US$36,120 (CLP 20012808) was achieved during the trial period.

For more details on this successful project, contact [email protected]

Key Benefits for Drilling Company
  • Reduced water consumption and cartage costs
  • Reduced project impact on local water supplies
  • Reduced mud usage and associated costs
  • Reduced slurry volume, waste cartage and disposal
  • Improved productivity
  • Reduced wear and tear on drill components
  • Reduced drill downtime, no mechanical failures experienced
  • Reduced manual handling and labour required
  • Improved on-site health and safety, reducing slips and hazards due to mud and water spills
  • Saved time managing and mixing mud.
Key Benefits for Resource Company
  • Increased drilling productivityŠ
  • Reduced project costs, including water consumption and mud usage, and associated costs
  • Minimised impact on local water supplies
  • Improved relationships with local communities.